Film review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012), directed by Christopher Nolan
Third and final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has already managed to jump up to a lofty 21st place on IMDb’s Top 250 list – not beating its predecessor, The Dark Knight, which is at #8 at the time of writing.
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has re-built Wayne Manor but is living as a recluse, which means the Batman is also nowhere to be seen. Because of the “Dent Act”, brought in after the death of near saint Harvey Dent – watch Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) squirm – organised crime is at a low.
Wayne Enterprises is on the brink of collapse because a majority of the money went into funding Miranda Tate’s (Marion Cotillard) clean energy project – only to be shut down as soon as Wayne realised it could be turned into a nuclear weapon.
Master criminal Bane (Tom Hardy) is on the loose, as is cat burglar Selina (Anne Hathaway), who gatecrashes a party at Wayne Manor so she can steal Wayne’s finger prints. And it rolls on for nearly three hours from there.
Also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake, and of course also Morgan Freeman as Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred. The film also features Matthew Modine, Burn Gorman, Aidan Gillen, Reggie Lee, Juno Temple, Josh Stewart, Nestor Carbonell, with Liam Neeson cameoing as Ra’s Al Ghul, as is Cillian Murphy as Dr Crane a.k.a. Scarecrow.
There were two things that made me perhaps not appreciate this film as much as I should have done. The first was that expectations for it were very, very high. The Dark Knight was amazing, and they filmed Wayne Manor at Wollaton Hall right here in Nottingham.
The second was that for the whole first maybe 45 minutes, I was in tremendous pain – and when the ibuprofen finally kicked in it was replaced with a sort of post-cramp fatigue. Not being able to find a comfortable position in the cinema paired with nasty cramps don’t make you terribly attentive, and once you can relax again, the fatigue made the slower parts even slower. Put it this way: Catwoman and Batman were planning something, suddenly Bane and Batman fought, and then Batman was in a hole. I might have nodded off somewhere in-between those scenes …
But the good parts were good. The ending, which I will not give away, was interesting, and had me thinking “OMG, wow!!” whereas a friend had been waiting for that very same thing to happen during the entire film.
The film definitely gets a gold star for having cameos by both Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy. While everyone’s busy impersonating Bane’s voice, I was disappointed by the villain of the piece. The way Bane spoke made him less terrifying and more … Bond villain. I fully expected him to say “we have been expecting you, Mr Bond” at least at some point or other. “Hello, yes, I’m the villain of Gotham City, but I sound like I’m reciting Shakespeare, thank you very much!” Meh.
On the plus side – Wollaton Hall looked radiant! We’re so proud of our local landmark. The only negative of the Wayne Manor shots were that when they were in some rooms you could clearly tell they were filming elsewhere, because you could see the brickwork around the outside of the windows. There’s not a brick in sight on Wollaton Hall. It was fun to see the famed garden party and what that yellow school bus we caught a glimpse of was for. Oh, I do hope that place gets more film roles in the years to come!
Cat Woman and Batman, yeah, kinda works. Actors work well too, and if you put both Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in he same film, you can’t go wrong. When that portion of awesome is sprinkled with Gary Oldman and has a dusting of Liam Neeson, you can’t ask for much more, really.
From what I’ve gathered Nolan isn’t thinking about making a spin-off to this film, so that the ending is left open is not a “and here’s where we set up the spin-off!” but rather a symbol of hope and that sort of thing. That Batman is just a name, and so on. Regardless, The Dark Knight Rises is a good film, and to watch it at the cinema is money well spent.
And we’ll forget the plot hole that the whole climbing out of jail is. Because there were easier ways up than jumping on to the things everyone tried jumping on to, and besides, the rope was tied to the top so why not just scale the bloody thing and be done with it? Oh, and the “I broke your back, but you’re going to be able to do all kinds of stuff in just a couple of months” bit, because … yeah right.
Still, an epic conclusion to an epic trilogy. Just that the second film was better than the third.
4.4 out of 5 crashing planes.